Remarks by singer and entertainer Yehoram Gaon that disparaged Mediterranean-style Israeli music unleashed a storm of criticism yesterday.

The comments by Gaon, who is an Israel Prize laureate for music, were quoted in a publication of the Ariel University Center's communications department.

"Sometimes I listen to the words and I don't believe what I am hearing," the publication quoted Gaon as saying. "It's rubbish that even the devil didn't create. Dreadful rubbish. There are mistakes in Hebrew; it's an embarrassment to the intelligentsia. I am hoping for the time when this cursed trend is over."

Eliko, a radio personality on the Lev Hamedina station, which features Mediterranean-style Israeli music, said in response, "This is unnecessary. It's an embarrassment to the person making the comments."

Following Gaon's comments, MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima ) announced that she will push for a conference to be convened in honor of Middle Eastern music on March 22, to which MKs, singers and songwriters will be invited. She called Gaon's remarks "elitism and arrogance."